On the Couch with Samantha Clarke

Samantha-Clarke-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Samantha Clarke?
Samantha Clarke is an Australian / British soprano who is just so happy, people like what she does enough that she is able to have a career in music and do what she loves for a living.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I honestly can’t imagine a life without music or performing in some capacity. If I had to choose, I think maybe hosting a television show or something like that. Being a host on a travel show would be pretty cool! I think later in life I would love to look into artistic leadership like being the Artistic Director of a company

Who inspires you and why?
My musical inspirations would be Mirella Freni just for her DIVINE singing and beautifully understated, real portrayals of every role she does. A mentor / old teacher of mine, Mary Plazas, inspires me with her generosity and passion for the art form. She can pull so much intention and emotion from one bar of instrumental music between singing phrases.

I am also so inspired by my teacher Yvonne Kenny for her work ethic, musicality, beautiful singing and the incredible career she has had over the years between Australia and the rest of the world. More recently, I have been inspired by Australian conductor Simone Young who has completely owned the incredible position she is in a very male dominated space, all while having a beautiful family and working so hard to be where she is. As cliché as it sounds, everyone I surround myself with inspires me. We are all doing our best at whatever we are trying to do in this world and I think we can learn something from everyone.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I had a genie in a bottle there would be some big old changes I would make but alas I am an opera singer with no magical abilities – DAMN! I think I would encourage, promote and invest in music for the community and for young people. Music has such a huge impact on people and the power to transform lives. I would love to lead the charge in this and actually start something where it can be accessed by everyone in the community.

My good friend Lucy Temby started a foundation in the UK called SoundUp Arts where they enable creative experiences for those living with dementia and I was lucky enough to perform for some participants and it blew me away how much it had positively affected these people and their families who had been coming along. Music holds a lot more power than some people give it credit for.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
This is hard and I definitely can’t choose; I love European destinations like Italy and Greece and I love Japan so much. I have just been at Rottnest Island which is just off the coast of Western Australia and when the wind isn’t absolutely howling that place is one of the most magical spots in the World. I think it also holds a lot of childhood memories for me, so the minute I get there I feel so comfortable and relaxed.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Funny that! I got married on the 3rd December last year and we had some friends who came out from overseas. We showed them the South West of WA – Margaret River, Gracetown and Yallingup which are all so beautiful for their amazing wineries, food and beaches.

The wedding was actually at my husband’s family farm in the Margaret River which is an attraction in itself. Rotto (Rottnest Island) was also another stop as it is just such a unique place where everyone just lives the simple Island life on their bicycles with the most pristine beaches and quokkas!

What are you currently reading?
I have just started reading Eleanor OIiphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman which I picked up from the Rottnest general store and am really enjoying it so far. My reading pattern in the past swings towards trashy, easy reads!

What are you currently listening to?
I am currently listening to Yvonne Kenny singing Rejoice by Handel (how she makes that seem so easy is beyond me) and Into the Woods by Sondheim. I generally listen to a lot of what I am doing next or learning. I also involuntarily listen to a lot of U2; after there was that Apple glitch where everyone got a copy of their album downloaded on their iTunes so that always comes on when I start the car!

Happiness is?
For me I am most happy when I have found that perfect work-life balance. Where I feel fulfilled in my career and my aspirations and I am able to have special time with my family and friends. I love those moments where everything feels like it is in its right place- I always try to absorb those. My wedding was the happiest day of my life and I just felt so lucky to be marrying my husband with the most incredible people around us who we get to share life with!

What does the future hold for you?
The future holds so much excitement! In the 2023 season – I will be performing the role of the Bakers Wife in Sondheim’s Into the Woods with West Australian Opera directed by Cameron Menzies who I am so keen to work with, as well as some exciting projects with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra with Simone Young.

I will be in the UK to sing Fiordiligi with the Grange Festival, where I will take her back to Opera Queensland to perform in their new production of Cosi. Ahead of that there are honestly some ‘pinch me’ moments work wise and I am so excited for those to be announced! In my personal life, the first year of married life and building a home with my husband as well as lots of memories to be made and enjoying the good things with my loved ones!

Samantha stars as the Baker’s Wife in West Australian Opera’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods – which will be presented at His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth: 24 March – 1 April 2023. For more information, visit: www.waopera.asn.au for details.

Image: Samantha Clarke (supplied)